May 27, 2010

Liquid Calories

*Quick note: I am currently working on giving my blog a makeover for Spring/Summer, so don't mind me if it gets a little schizophrenic around here while I try out new looks.

Today, I was innocently checking out one of my Favorite blogs, Not Martha, and came across a link to
this article:

After reading the whole thing, I feel like my innocence is lost, a part of my soul gone... forever...I have been critical of bottled beverages for a very long time, but I don't think I ever really knew the depths of their wickedness until now.

This article reviews several of our nation's worst beverages, and gives the "sugar equivalent" in junk food. The sugar content is not the only shocking thing about the drinks, MANY of them reach 1000 calories or higher. Here's the thing about liquid calories, they don't really make you feel any more full than before you drank them, but your body processes those calories just the same as the calories from solids. This means you are taking in a crap load of empty, potentially harmful (don't even get me started on the evils of high fructose corn syrup, I will save that for another post) calories on top of your daily food intake. This leads to fat storage, weight gain, and all that goes with it.

Now, I could certainly go off on a tangent about food companies and their questionable ethics in making these beverages (especially the ones marketed to children!), I could go off on the FDA for allowing them to sell us this junk, but I won't. One of the nice things about living in a capitalistic society is that we have the choice to NOT PURCHASE these items, and drink water instead (or at least go for a lower calorie option...c'mon). We are fortunate enough to live in a time where nutritional information is widely available on the Internet, and in most establishments where food and drinks are sold. All you have to do is ask, it's easy, I do it all.the.time. It's not embarrassing, and the person behind the counter doesn't mind, as long as you smile and ask politely.

In this day and age, we finally have the opportunity to empower ourselves, and make to good choices that lead to a happy, healthy diet.

When consumers show whats most important to them by buying the healthier (the real thing, not just something claiming to be healthy on the label) options at restaurants and grocery stores, the people making this crap will listen, and supply us with more of what we want. I am an optimist, and I believe that the movement that some call a "trend" or a "fad" to buy whole (not processed), local, and organic foods is going to change the way our nation relates to what we eat.

OK, I will get off my soap box now. I guess that all there is left to say is "power to the people!"

May 25, 2010


I found out last night that two other girls in my YTTP lost their dads in May as well. I used to say that I didn't believe in fate or destiny, but as I slowly move into a more spiritual and emotionally fulfulling part of my life, I might be changing my mind. You know when you first see someone, you can kind of tell you could connect with them. Well, I felt this for both of the girls. I felt sort of drawn to them, like "hm they seem insteresting, I bet we could become good friends."

I was talking with one of them last night before class, and we got on the subject of what we were doing before the program began, and then the subject of loosing our fathers (both in the first week of May) came up, and we both got goosebumps. It was amazing. I think there is a bigger force at work here.

You know what else gives me goosebumps? This song.

I know it's old news by now, but I love it. I think I'm a little bit in love with Imogen Heap. I heard an interview with her on NPR about how she makes her music, and it was enthralling to say the least.

May 17, 2010


I want to thank all of my blogging buddies for the love and support in the last post's comments. My dad passed away last week, and needless to say, I am feeling a lot of complicated emotions, and not really feeling very inspired/motivated to cook, or write about anything. We've been eating a lot of omelets (my go to slacker dinner). We are having a service tomorrow for our Denver friends/family and another in June for people in our home town where my dad (as well as myself and my sister) grew up. Thankfully we have managed to stick together as a family and help each other out through all this. So, thanks friends, even though I've never met some of you, your words of support have meant so much to me.

I started my yoga teacher training program last week as well, and oh, it is everything I imagined and more. I love all of my classmates and teachers, and I have already learned so much, it's hard to believe this is only my second week. When I come home from my classes I feel physically tired and mentally/emotionally invigorated, which is the way it should be, rather than mentally exhausted and physically pent up. My love for yoga is deepening everyday, and I can not wait to share it with the world.

We have also been slowly getting our garden in the ground. So far, we have corn, loose leaf lettuce, rosemary, basil, oregano, cilantro, sugar peas, cucumbers, yellow onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, cayenne peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and broccoli. We still need to cultivate the plot behind the house before we can plant the pumpkins, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and watermelon. I can hardly wait until the little sprouts become a rowdy bunch of green leaves and vines, with bursts of color where the fruit and veggies are growing.

I will leave you with one of my favorite songs. The best version I could find on YouTube is from the Watchmen soundtrack, which is ironically one of my favorite movies. It's like rain washing over me, and taking away all the mud and dirt.

May 6, 2010

New beginngs, and also an ending.

This is a very special time in my life. This Saturday, I will begin my yoga teacher training program (YTTP), I have been dreaming of being a yoga teacher since I was 16, and have been dreaming of attending this particular program since I moved to the city when I was 18. It will last for 15 weeks, the class is two nights a week, as well as a half day on Saturdays. I don't know if I really believe in destiny, but I have truly felt a calling to teach yoga for a long time, and I feel that I now have the patience and maturity to embark on achieving that goal. I really feel like this is a beginning of a new life for me, one where I am living my dream!

This is also a sad time of goodbyes. I mentioned in my last post that my family is going through a tough time, and in the spirit of being honest, I will explain. My father has had type I (insulin dependant) diabetes his whole life. When I was 17, his kidneys failed, and he has been on dialysis ever since. He has had a multitude of health problems due to his disease, and last Friday, they finally took their toll. He is dying, and while this is not a surprise to us, it is, of course very difficult to go through, especially for my mom. If you wouldn't mind keeping us in your thoughts and prayers, it would be greatly appreciated. All we ask for is that his passing is relatively painless.

So often in my life, big transitions are bittersweet like this, one wonderful thing happening simultaneously with something that is sad. It is a constant reminder that life will never be perfect, but we have to focus on and appreciate the good times, and to support and be supported by our loved ones through the bad times.

May 4, 2010

Make your granola at home... won't be sorry! It costs about half as much as store bought granola, you get to customize it to your taste/health factor preference, and it tastes better! Not to mention, it makes your house smell amazing all afternoon.
 This weekend, I gardened and made granola. After a very stressful Friday, it was exactly what I needed to feel like myself again. I love making granola because you can start with a base recipe, and just get creative and add whatever your heart desires. I love to go to the bulk section at the local healthy market (Sunflower Market for those of you in CO) and choose my ingredients, it's fun to try different combinations of nuts, seeds and dried fruit to come up with new flavor profiles.

I got my base recipe from none other than Mr. Alton Brown, I just used this as a guide for measurements and cooking time. I had read online that if you mix in an egg white, it will give the granola more clusters, so I decided to give that a try as well.

Toasty Granola with Coconut and Cranberries
3 cups oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup shaved (or shredded) unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp honey extra if too dry
1 egg white
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Combine the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, and brown sugar in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, vanilla and salt. It will become thick, with a honey like consistency. Combine both mixtures and stir in the egg white (if the granola seems too dry, mix in 2 tbsp of honey).

Pour into 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. Remove from oven and transfer all the granola into the same vessel, mix in the cranberries, and enjoy!

This turned out to be so yummy, it is perfect in Greek yogurt with a little honey. Zak actually deemed it "the most delicious food ever." Well, I don't know about that, but it is some of the best granola I've had.

It might get a little quiet around here in the next few weeks, because my family is going through a bit of a tough time, and my energy will be used up supporting them in any way that I can. Please bear with me if my posts are few and far between.